What is the difference between Chinese dumplings and Tibetan mo-mos? You get Chinese dumplings in a Chinese restaurant and mo-mos in a Tibetan restaurant. Right? Wrong. It’s not as simple as that.
I went to Harbourfront Centre recently to find out. Harbourfront is wonderful because its days are filled with a wide variety of topics about different cultures and you can ask questions. Its Asian Fortune Cooking Food Festival earlier this month had a session on Tibetan cooking. Mo-mos are Tibetan dumplings.
Sonam Yangzom of the West End Food Coop in Parkdale rolls the dough from balls into flat circles the same way Cantonese or Beijing cooks do.
The filling is basically the same: vegetables, coriander, chives, ginger, garlic, etc. Sometimes cumin is used. The cumin is different. Some dumplings are made with meat.
The shapes are the same. They are steamed the same. Lucky us. We were all given a chance to eat a couple yummy fat ones for $2. They tasted just like Chinese dumplings, and I’ve eaten a lot of Chinese dumplings.
So what’s the difference? It seems that the basic difference is the meat. Traditional Tibetan mo-mos are made of yak meat. Toronto’s only yak is at the High Park zoo. There’s one farm near Ottawa and one in Alberta that raises yak for meat. The market is so small for yak meat that it’s very expensive. It was served to Kate and William in Alberta at a fancy banquet.
If you find any Tibetan restaurants in Toronto using genuine yak meat, let me know. I haven’t found any. In the meantime, we can all enjoy the Tibetan atmosphere in Tibetan restaurants and pretend we’re eating real Tibetan dumplings. Many such restaurants are in Parkdale on Queen Street West.
Can anyone tell us the difference between Polish and Ukrainian dumplings?